I got some great “creative therapy” in last week designing, decorating and planning for my son’s seventh birthday. Per my usual style…I went all out. This year my son chose a basketball theme which made me happy because I knew it would be a little easier for me than my daughter’s character themed party. I decided to save a little money for this party by making my own cake pops. I found a great mommy blog that gave me the pros and cons of baking cake pops from a mold versus hand rolling them. The biggest difference she noted was in the taste, so I surmised that it was best to take the extra time making them by hand.
My kids eat pretty healthy throughout the year, so on their birthdays I don’t feel guilty for letting them have a day of sweets. I know most adults would choose cake on a stick over fruit on a stick for their birthdays too… I know I sure would. What made me decide to take on this task of making vanilla ‘funfetti’ cake pops for sixty people and a double layer chocolate cake, were the minimal number of steps required to make them. Also because I didn’t have to make the cake batter from scratch…which is not my thing. I like a good shortcut every now and again and I’m also very realistic about my strength as a cook…not as a “from scratch” baker.
The first step was mixing the batter up for the cakes. The only change I made to the box directions was adding a cup of milk instead of water to give the cake a fluffier, softer texture. After the cake cooled I scored it into small square pieces with a knife to make it easier to crumble by hand in the bowl.
After baking two Pillsbury vanilla funfetti cakes I let them cool, then crumbled the cake in a large bowl by hand before I folded in the frosting. I added in two jars of cream cheese frosting (one jar per cake) and stirred it by hand. I then covered the mixture with cling wrap and let it stiffen up over night so that it’d be easier to roll into balls the next day. I recommend this two day process so that the balls don’t fall apart during the rolling. The next day I used an ice cream scooper to scoop up the mixture and roll it into balls. I placed the balls onto a baking sheet covered with wax paper and let them sit in the fridge for two more hours.
When I bought my crock pot, it came with a mini slow cooker that I have put to good use over the years making spinach artichoke dip, cheese fondue, melted chocolate, etc…
I buy most of my cake decorating stuff from Michaels arts & crafts store. They have a big selection of cake supplies, candy melts, icing colors, party decorations, etc… I bought three bags of orange candy melts, candy decorating pens, lollipop sticks, orange frosting color, treat bags, and three tubes of black icing for the basketball cake. I added one bag of orange candy melts to the mini crock pot, stirring occasionally while the candy melted. You can also melt them in the microwave if you don’t have a special melting bowl.
I decided to leave the balls in the fridge, picking them up one by one so that they would stay firm when I dipped them into the pot of candy melts. A great tip I learned from the other blog site was to dip each stick into the candy before sticking it into the middle of the ball. This held them onto the sticks more securely. I proud to say that I didn’t lose any cake pops with this sure fire method. I stuck the pops into thick blocks of styrofoam to dry, which I also bought at the arts & crafts store.
After letting them cool down and harden for an hour I used my cake decorating pens to draw the basketball lines. The ink is made out of the same ingredients used in food coloring. Next, I added the orange food coloring to my jars of vanilla frosting and decorated my double layer basketball cake. I used the black frosting to make the lines.
I made a Doc Mcstuffins cake pop stand for my daughter’s third birthday last year, so I was able to use the same styrofoam pieces. I bought orange tissue paper to wrap around and tape onto the bottoms of the styrofoam, then glued the black ribbon around the bottoms of each. I found some super cute basketball clip art online and printed them out on thick printer paper to make treat labels. I let the birthday boy draw the lines with a regular black marker, which he had fun doing. This stand was definitely less time consuming than the cake pops, it only took me an hour to make. The party favors were the easiest since I only had to customize and order the stickers online to place onto the mini award trophies.
Our party guests couldn’t stop raving about these tasty little balls of heaven on a stick and there were nothing but smiling faces and laughter all day… made it all worth it.
Party photography: www.RickyHorneJr.com